The October Sessions
Thursday October, 15th | Time: 9:00 am PST / 12:00 pm EST
Nutrition and Gut Health
Meet and Greet: 8:45 am PST
Tuesday October, 20th | Time: 8:00 am PST / 11:00 am EST
A multidisciplinary approach
for better patient care
Meet and Greet: 7:45 am PST
Wednesday October, 28th | Time: 4:00 pm PST / 7:00 pm EST
What a difference a year makes; Patient stories
Meet and Greet: 3:45 pm PST
Thursday November, 5th | Time: 4:00 pm PST / 7:00 pm EST
Self-advocacy during crisis
Meet and Greet: 3:45 pm PST
Charlotte Rensberger, RN BSN
11 Health Nurse
Hi, I’m Charlotte! I have an ileostomy due to Crohn’s disease. I enjoy creative writing and blogging. I also enjoy creating powerpoint presentations and public speaking/teaching. I’m a Patient Coach because it allows me to make something positive out of this awful disease. I can use my experiences to give back! My biggest tip for new ostomates is to learn about your body in relation to your diagnosis, not the other way around. Knowledge is power, the more you can learn about yourself, the more information your care team will have at their disposal to be able to treat you in the best manner.
“As a patient myself, I know just how important support is. During these times, we might be missing out on those gatherings that give us so much support and encouragement. 11 Health is offering virtual support groups for patients to help the wellbeing of those with an ostomy/IBD/colorectal cancer communities. We will be offering groups with dynamic speakers that cover trending topics as well as groups for patients just to get together and talk about what they’re currently facing as a patient.”
Jessica Jay, Ostomy Patient and 11 Health Account Manager
What is Gutsy Gathering?
During a Gutsy Gathering meeting, patients will have the opportunity to share their experiences with a group of peers, all monitored by a licensed 11 Health nurse.
Also, each Gutsy Gathering meeting will feature an expert in the field. All group leaders have resources, training, strategies and real-life experiences.
When do groups meet, and what are the technical requirements?
Gutsy Gathering meets once per month. In order to join the meeting, you must pre-register here, and have access to a computer or mobile device with internet access to launch a ZOOM meeting. (Please download ZOOM prior to the meeting, a link will be provided after you register.)
Support Group Rules
1. What is said in the meeting, stays in the meeting
This is the essential principle of confidentiality and must be respected by all participants.
2. Differences of opinion are OK
We are all entitled to our own point of view.
3. Use “I” language
Share from your personal experience, say “this is what helped me” or “when I was faced with this problem, I …” – don’t give advice unless asked to.
4. It’s OK not to share
People do not need to actively participate; much can be gained by just listening.
5. Its everyone’s responsibility to make the group a safe place to share
Treat each other with respect and kindness. Show compassion and respect confidentiality.
6. One person speaks at a time
Each person should be allowed to speak free from interruptions and side conversations.
7. Share the air time
Everyone who wishes to share has an opportunity to do so. No one person should monopolize the group time.
8. “Headline” your comments
Say the most important part of your comment first. Try to keep your contribution brief and to the point.
9. The group leader may interrupt you
This is to keep the meeting on track.
Nutrition and Gut Health
Pre-op, Post-op, and long-term ostomy life in general – we are here to help!
Check out a few of our favorite tips to get you through each phase of ostomy life:
- Many of our questions come when we are not at an appointment. Keep a little notebook handy (or use the notepad in your phone) to write down any questions you have for your local medical team and our team (Patient Coaches and Nurses) and talk about your concerns.
- Get a 3-ring binder to keep all the documents you will receive from your doctors in one place.
- Make sure that you sign up for a patient portal if available so you can have access to all your test results and to help you communicate with your medical team.
- You are welcome to add a caregiver, so your Patient Coach can communicate with them too while you are inpatient.
- Plan ahead to know what support you will have available post-op. If you are not sure, talk this over with your medical team and Patient Coach. We are here for you.
- Stock up on your favorite electrolyte drinks.
- Start tracking your fluid intake on the Alfred SmartCare app and do the health check daily.
- Pack for the hospital so you can bring some comforts from home – an extra soft blanket, a favorite pillow, comfy pajamas. Also bring extra long charger cords, and if you have lots of electronic devices, a multiplug can come in handy.
- While you’re in the hospital, check with the nursing staff for your dietary restrictions. Oftentimes a caregiver can bring you food as long as it follows your restrictions. Just because you’re in the hospital doesn’t mean that you only have to eat hospital foods! (This may not apply currently because of Covid.)
- Listen to your body.
- Clearly communicate any post-op pain and symptoms to your medical team. (Report at a 3 not a 10)
- Get moving and grooving! (With your surgeon’s approval, walking is a great way to move gas out of your system and recover from post-op pain. Make it a part of your routine to take a short walk after each meal. Start while you’re in the hospital with short walks, but make sure your doctor has cleared you and that you get assistance from the nurse if you need it. If you can’t walk, start with small things to get your body moving. This can be gentle stretching or even just standing up and sitting down in a chair.)
- Keep in mind what you like to do to relax while you recover. It helps to have some distractions and pass the time with something creative.
- Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Keep in touch with your medical team and Patient Coach for support.
- Using the Alfred SmartCare app and wearing the SmartBag to track your fluids and output can help minimize dehydration risks.
- Make sure that you prepare for telehealth appointments with things like your medications list, but also make sure that you have all your ostomy supplies handy in case you need to do a pouching change.
Long Term Post-op Tips:
- Keep doing what you love. Don’t forget to take time for self-care. Whether that means soaking inthe hot tub, reading a book, or otherwise, make the time to give yourself those mental breaks.
- Acceptance is different for everyone. Be patient with yourself and take some time to understand what you need to find your own normal.
- Practice positive self-talk and thoughts about your ostomy or j-pouch.
- You tend to drink more water throughout the day if it’s easily within reach, so keep a water bottlenext to you all the time. (And don’t forget those electrolyte drinks that you stocked up on earlier!)
- Follow up with your ostomy nurse every 6-12 months, more often as needed.